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Roving for Signs of Life on Mars

Space Tuesdays with George Mason University Observatory

Evening Program + Virtual Observatory Tour

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Tuesday, August 18, 2020 - 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. ET
Code: 1A0118
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Artist's rendition, NASA's Mars 2020 rover (NASA/JPL-Caltech)


  • This program is part of our Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
  • Platform: Zoom
  • Online registration is required.
  • For multiple registrations, you will be asked to supply individual names and email addresses.

Between July 17 and August 5, NASA launches the Mars 2020 rover Perseverance from Cape Canaveral, in anticipation of an early 2021 touchdown in the Jezero Crater on Mars. Key objectives for Perseverance include gathering rocks and soil for a sample-return mission from Mars, preparing for possible human exploration, assessing the ancient habitability of the planet for sustaining life, and looking for evidence of past life.

Peter Plavchan and Michael Summers, professors of physics and astronomy at George Mason University, and John Callas, former Mars Exploration Rover program manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, look at the prospects of life on Mars, past and present, through scientific evidence collected by robotic landers and rovers and remote-sensing orbiters.

With remote control of the GMU Observatory, they also bring the skies into your living room, displaying views of Jupiter, Saturn, and other celestial objects, weather-permitting. (Mars will not be visible until after midnight).

Note: This program begins at 8 p.m. due to the timing of sunset.


If you are interested in additional Space Tuesdays with George Mason University Observatory programs, view the upcoming schedule:

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